Our Master Plan
In the Spring/Summer of 2002 we hired Hord Architects to complete a Master Plan that would contain needs of our buildings, ideas of parishioners on the changes that they deemed necessary and code issues that we have to incorporate into the Master Plan. This Master Plan was developed carefully, with much thought, is a road map of construction needs for the next 25 years.
During this process Mr. Carter Hord solicited input from various parish groups and parishioners and came up with 15 Goals and Objectives. (Mr. Hord did not include the Renovation committee’s responses when he put the list of needs together.) They are:
- Define entry. The campus lacks clearly identified entries. Ideally, there should be fewer, better-defined entries for the parish which are easier for a visitor to find.
- Relieve the horizontal exterior with a vertical element. The existing buildings are very horizontal. This provides too much uniformity to the campus with no real hierarchy to the different structures. The worship space should be the most prominent part of the campus because of its use and meaning.
- Mend the north/south split of the congregation. There is a north-south polar condition to the worship space because there are two main entries and because of the way parking is configured. The members split between the north lot and the south lot and enter and exit opposite ends of the church; therefore, many never cross paths.
- Provide a gathering space. There is no narthex or gathering space. This exacerbates the north-south split and prevents the members from having an opportunity to fellowship and share time together.
- Provide a unifying architectural element on the plan. There is no unifying architectural space on the campus, nor any unifying space in the plan.
- Provide a unifying architectural element in the exterior elevations.
- Make the worship space more uplifting and transcendent. The worship space could be more uplifting and therefore more transcendent. This could be achieved through verticality and a more deliberate approach to bring in light.
- Combine the church and school as one – one parish. The church and the school need to be viewed as one, one parish with many different ministries. One vary large ministry is education, consisting of both academics and forming of faith. Developing faith should be a lifelong learning process, from cradle to grave.
- Demolish Annex. The annex building should be demolished because of its age, condition, and lack of compliance with current building codes. This recommendation is also substantiated in an earlier study by another firm. Allowing the school to remain and be renovated should be tested for validity.
- Separate church administration and the rectory. The church administration should be removed from the rectory. The two uses now placed in direct proximity is not a desirable condition, despite how well all parties are getting along.
- Make the entire campus accessible to those with disabilities.
- Provide a well-defined, usable green space.
- Improve the appearance of the church from the west side.
- Improve interior circulation throughout, particularly the education area to worship area.
- Make the parish campus welcoming and inviting.
Mr. Hord’s original plan was designed in three major projects – Phase 1 renovation of our school, Phase 2 renovation of our midsection of the campus –Parish Center and Phase 3 renovation of our Church. We amended the original plan by competing the renovation of our school and church before completing the midsection.
Through the Diocesan Seeds of Faith capital campaign we were able to completely renovate our education wing – remove all asbestos, provide new windows, exterior finishes, floors, walls, doors, wiring, bathrooms while adding new air- conditioning and boilers that serve the entire proposed campus. During the renovation of the school our students were graciously housed at Pax Christi Church and in our outdated annex. The decision to tackle this section first was because of a generous designated gift of $1,000,000.00 for our educational wing.
After completing the loan payments for Phase 1, the renovation team was able to address objective 9 – the demolition of the Annex building. Now our school has a wonderful green space for our students to enjoy.
In the spring of 2009 we closed the church and moved to our school gym/cafeteria for Mass. We began the renovation of the worship space with the removal of all asbestos and then began to put everything back together. We were able to address lighting issues with the addition of a clear story (sky-light) over the middle of our church. We continued the renovation with re configuring our altar, taking part of the altar to make our new ambo, moving the baptismal font, adding new pews, a new sound system, new lighting, new bathrooms, new nurse’s office, new north entry ushers closet and new finishes to our walls and floors. During construction we found a leak in one of the south vestibules, we determined the best course of action was to fix the roof with new beams and renovate that area. As we got close to moving in, many parishioners were given an opportunity to sign our cement floor. Parishioners felt very strongly about having a new organ, so in just three short weeks, with the help of a matching gift and many parishioners and non-parishioners we were able to raise enough money to have a new organ added. We moved back into our newly renovated church on Christmas Eve 2009 at the 4:00 PM Mass. Bishop John Quinn rededicated our church in the spring of 2010.
As you can see from the list above, we have been able to finish half of our original plan in less than half of the 25 year plan! The objects in blue above we believe had been achieved. Now we need to begin work to complete the two major steps left in our Master Plan, the addition of a gathering space on the west side of our church and the renovation of Founders Hall; then an addition of a Parish Center on the west side of the school gym and renovation of our school gym and cafeteria.
When we started the Church project we didn’t have the money to complete the Gathering Space and Founders’ Hall, so the Renovation team decided to split the church phase. Now we believe we are close to beginning another part of our Master Plan. The Renovation team has been listening to our parishioners and have decided to add the handicap accessible ramp from the church to the school gym/cafeteria into our next project. – The addition of the Gathering space to the west side of the church and the renovation of Founder’s Hall.